A link between patients being discharged from Scottish hospitals and Covid outbreaks in care homes ‘cannot be ruled out’, according to a new report.
The report by Public Health Scotland found mortality was ‘high’ among people discharged to care homes and that Covid was associated with 21.6% of deaths within 30 days of hospital discharge last spring.
It found between 1 March and 31 May last year, there were 5,198 discharges from NHS hospitals to care homes, which accounted for 5.3% of all hospital discharges during the same period.
And more than three quarters (77.8%) of the 1,084 care homes in Scotland received hospital discharges in that time period.
Using laboratory confirmed cases, the report notes (32.1%) care homes in Scotland experienced an outbreak of Covid in the home between 1 March and 21 June.
‘Hospital discharge is associated with an increased risk of an outbreak when considered on its own,’ the report states.
‘It is important to note that after accounting for care home size and other care home characteristics, the estimated risk of an outbreak due to hospital discharge reduces.
‘No statistically significant association was found between hospital discharge and the occurrence of a care home outbreak. However, due to the uncertainty observed, we cannot rule out a small effect, particularly for those patients who were discharged untested or discharged positive.’
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